Brew Operations

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Internal

Commands

update

Fetches the latest version of Homebrew and all formulae and upgrades. Use this to update brew itself.

upgrade

Upgrades software packages managed by brew to their latest versions.

brew upgrade postgresql@14

doctor

Checks the Homebrew installation for potential problems and exit with a non-zero status if potential problems are found.

cleanup

Remove old version from cellar for all installed (or specified) formulae. Old downloads from the Homebrew download-cache are deleted.

list

Without any arguments, list all installed formulae or casks:

brew list

If --cask is provided, list only installed casks, not formulae:

brew list --cask

When a specific formula or cask name is provided, list details about the installed artifacts associated with the formula or cask:

brew list bash
/usr/local/Cellar/bash/5.1.8/bin/bash
/usr/local/Cellar/bash/5.1.8/bin/bashbug
/usr/local/Cellar/bash/5.1.8/include/bash/ (58 files)
/usr/local/Cellar/bash/5.1.8/lib/bash/ (35 files)
/usr/local/Cellar/bash/5.1.8/lib/pkgconfig/bash.pc
/usr/local/Cellar/bash/5.1.8/share/doc/ (10 files)
/usr/local/Cellar/bash/5.1.8/share/info/bash.info
/usr/local/Cellar/bash/5.1.8/share/locale/ (39 files)
/usr/local/Cellar/bash/5.1.8/share/man/ (2 files)
brew list --cask corretto11
==> Pkg
amazon-corretto-11.0.11.9.1-macosx-x64.pkg (Pkg)

list versions

List versions for a specific formula or cask.

brew list --versions git-lfs
git-lfs 2.13.3
brew list --versions --cask corretto11
corretto11 11.0.11.9.1

If no such formula is installed, the command displays nothing and exits with 1.

If no such cask is installed, the command issues an error message exits with 1.

info

Display statistics on the specific formula or cask. Note that the formula or cask does not have to be currently installed on the system to get information. If the cask is not installed, the command will still provide names, descriptions and artifacts, but it will mention "Not installed".

If multiple version are present in the cellar, the active (linked) version is marked with *. By default assumes the names that are provided are formulae:

brew info bash

To display information about casks, use --cask:

brew info --cask corretto11

install

Install the latest version of a formula or a cask:

brew install <formula-name>
brew install --cask <cask-name>

Homebrew formulae or casks can be installed with Ansible, which provides modules that delegate to Homebrew native commands. For more details see:

Ansible Homebrew Support

Install a Specific Formula Version

https://blog.gruntwork.io/installing-multiple-versions-of-terraform-with-homebrew-899f6d124ff9
https://medium.com/@warrensbox/how-to-manage-different-terraform-versions-for-each-project-51cca80ccece

To install a specific formula version, follow this procedure, exemplified with terraform (if you need to apply it to a different formula, you might need to adapt it).

git clone git@github.com:Homebrew/homebrew-core.git
cd homebrew-core
git log master -- Formula/terraform.rb
# find the specific version and write down the commit
git checkout <commit>
cp Formula/terraform.rb ~/tmp
cd ~/tmp
brew unlink terraform
brew install ./terraform.rb

Worked with terraform, gradle, yq.

Install a Specific Cask Version

It seems it's a big deal to revert to a specific version with Vagrant, it requires low level intervention: https://www.jverdeyen.be/mac/downgrade-brew-cask-application/.

This is a step-by-step example for Vagrant.

Clone the Homebrew homebrew-cask repository:

git clone git@github.com:Homebrew/homebrew-cask.git

Pull the history of the specific cask you want to downgrade (in this case vagrant.rb):

git log master -- Casks/vagrant.rb

Based on the commit comment, pick the commit corresponding to the desired version:

commit ae2a540ffee555491ccbb2cefa4296c76355ef9f
Author: Nikolas Evers <vintagesucks@users.noreply.github.com>
Date:   Tue Oct 15 12:22:12 2019 +0200

    Update vagrant from 2.2.5 to 2.2.6 (#70854)

Uninstall the current version:

brew cask uninstall vagrant

Using the commit identified above, install the desired version:

brew cask install https://raw.githubusercontent.com/caskroom/homebrew-cask/ae2a540ffee555491ccbb2cefa4296c76355ef9f/Casks/vagrant.rb

uninstall (remove, rm)

Uninstall a formula or a cask. By default it assumes formulae.

brew uninstall wget

Specify --cask to configure it to uninstall one or more casks:

brew uninstall --cask corretto11

After the execution of a cask uninstall command, the whole directory associated with the cask is removed from Caskroom.

formula

Displays the path where the specified formula is located.

brew formula <formula-name>

tap

Without any arguments, display all taps available on the system:

brew tap

Add a New Tap

brew tap [--full] <user>/<repo> [URL]

Install homebrew/cask-versions Tap

Why is this necessary? Why doesn't homebrew/cask suffice?

brew tap homebrew/cask-versions

For more about Homebrew Cask see:

Homebrew Cask

pin/unpin

The brew pin command will prevent Homebrew from updating/upgrading the installed version of the specified formula when brew upgrade is executed. brew unpin releases this constraint.

switch

Usage: brew switch <formula> <version>
brew switch mysql 5.5.29

Does it need to exist in Cellar?

Alternative: brew link.

link

The "link" command symlinks an installed package, located in /usr/local/Cellar to /usr/local. "link" works if the alternative versions are both installed in /usr/local/Cellar (for example /usr/local/Cellar/go and /usr/local/Cellar/go@1.12). "link" does not work if the alternative versions are installed as version subdirectories in the package Cellar directory. If there is a /usr/local/Cellar/yq/3.4.1 and a /usr/local/Cellar/yq/4.2.0, trying to use "brew link yq" does not work. In this situation, use brew switch.

unlink

The 'unlink' command removes the symlink of installed package, located in /usr/local/Cellar to /usr/local

brew unlink git

To the current version installed can be reported with brew info <formula>.

search

brew search corretto11

Performs a substring (or regex) search of cask tokens and formula names. If the text is flanked by //, it is interpreted as a regular expression. The search is local and then on-line in homebrew/core and homebrew/cask.

bundle

Install brew bundle and write installed casks/formulae/images/taps into ~/Brewfile:

brew bundle dump --file=~/Brewfile

This can be used to save information about all packages installed on the system. They can be reinstalled with:

brew bundle install --file=~/Brewfile

services

brew services start <service-name>
brew services stop <service-name>

Examples:

cask

cask list

See list command above.

cask install

See install command above.

cask uninstall

See uninstall command above.

Recipes

Full Upgrade and Cleanup

brew update && brew outdated && brew upgrade && brew cleanup